Bell Let's Talk and Northwestel announce mental health initiative with Embrace Life Council for Nunavut communities

  • $250,000 donation to support safeTALK suicide prevention efforts
  • Clara Hughes visits Iqaluit for launch of community-based mental health program
  • Part of Bell Let's Talk's $1 million commitment to Canada's northern communities

IQALUIT, Jan. 18, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ - Bell Let's Talk and Northwestel today announced $250,000 in funding for a new mental health program to be delivered by Nunavut's Embrace Life Council, a non-profit suicide prevention organization based in Iqaluit.

The safeTALK program will provide a half-day of training to Nunavummiut over the age of 15 to become suicide-alert peer helpers and connect those in their community who need support with life-saving intervention resources.

"We work closely with communities in Nunavut and many other partners to help those struggling with suicidal thoughts and other mental health issues," said Kimberly Masson, Executive Director of the Embrace Life Council. "Once trained, our safeTALK helpers will be able to guide those Nunavummiut who are struggling with pain and trauma towards additional resources that encourage and promote life."

On hand for the announcement are Bell Let's Talk spokesperson Clara Hughes, program chair Mary Deacon and Northwestel CEO Paul Flaherty. The team is visiting Nunavut's capital Iqaluit as part of Clara's journey to several Canadian cities highlighting community-based mental health initiatives in advance of Bell Let's Talk Day on January 25.

The $250,000 in funding for safeTALK is part of Bell Let's Talk and Northwestel's $1 million commitment to support mental health programs in the North, which also includes funding for Nunavut Kamatsiaqtut Help Line, a free service providing anonymous and confidential telephone counselling in Inuktitut and English.

"Nunavut is a truly unique and special place and I am always humbled by the incredible kindness and generosity of the people who live here. At the same time, life in some of Canada's most remote communities comes with its own special challenges, and it's clear that additional mental health support will have a positive impact for many Nunavummiut," said Clara. "We are very pleased to work with Embrace Life Council and Nunavut Kamatsiaqtut Help Line, great community-based organizations that build on the tremendous care and respect the people of Nunavut have for family, friends and community."

"Northwestel works closely with Bell Let's Talk to contribute to the well-being of Canada's northern communities," said Paul Flaherty. "Help starts within the community first, and that's why we're very pleased to partner with local peer support mental health initiatives like safeTALK and territory-wide services like Nunavut Kamatsiaqtut Help Line."

The World Health Organization (WHO) considers suicide to be a major global health issue. The suicide rate in Nunavut is approximately 10 times higher than the national average for Canada – and the rate among Inuit males aged 15-29 living in Canada's Arctic regions is 40 times the national average.

"There is an incredible power of people working towards a common cause," said Hon. George Hickes, Nunavut's Minister responsible for suicide prevention. "In Nunavut, people are working together in our journey of hope, help and healing. The adaptation of safeTALK will provide one more resource for Nunavummiut to help others in this journey."  

"We know that most people who are thinking about ending their lives give warning signs of their intentions," said Mary Deacon. "By furthering the community's ability to address the warning signs and help those in need as quickly as possible, safeTALK will make a positive difference in the lives of many Nunavummiut."

Bell Let's Talk Day is January 25
On January 25, Bell will donate 5 cents to Canadian mental health programs for each of these interactions at no extra charge to participants:

  • Every text message, mobile call and long distance call made by Bell Canada and Bell Aliant customers.
  • Twitter: Every tweet using #BellLetsTalk  
  • Facebook: Every view of the Bell Let's Talk Day video at Facebook.com/BellLetsTalk
  • Instagram: Every post using #BellLetsTalk
  • Snapchat: Every use of the Bell Let's Talk Snapchat geofilter

Bell Let's Talk Day 2016 set new records for engagement with 125.9 million messages of support, and Bell increased its funding for Canadian mental health by $6,295,764.75.

About Bell Let's Talk
The Bell Let's Talk initiative promotes Canadian mental health with national awareness and anti-stigma campaigns, like Bell Let's Talk Day, and significant Bell funding of community care and access, research, and workplace initiatives. To learn more about the Bell Let's Talk campaign, and to download the Bell Let's Talk toolkit to help get the conversation started, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.

About the Embrace Life Council
Embrace Life Council is a non-profit suicide prevention organization based in Iqaluit, Nunavut. We began with the recognition that there needed to be a coordinated initiative in addressing the high suicide rates in Nunavut.  Through partnership efforts between the Government of Nunavut, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and many others, we were established in 2004.

About Northwestel
Northwestel Inc. services the largest operating area of any telecommunications company in the western hemisphere over the most remote and rugged terrain in Canada. It provides a complete range of voice, video and data solutions to residential and business customers in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Yukon, northern British Columbia and High Level, Alberta.

Media inquiries:

Jacqueline Michelis 
Bell
(613) 785-1427
jacqueline.michelis@bell.ca 
@Bell_News

Andrew Rankin
Northwestel
(867) 333-9236
media@nwtel.ca

Kimberly Masson
Embrace Life Council
(867) 975-3233 ext. 226
kmasson@inuusiq.com

 

SOURCE Bell Canada

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